Michael Wesch - speakerbookingagency

Michael Wesch Speaker & Booking Information

Anthropologist, University Distinguished Scholar, Kansas State University

Category: Education Speakers, Professors

Speaker’s Fee Range: $100,000 or More
Travels From: Kansas, USA

About Michael Wesch

Michael Wesch Biography

After spending two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, Wesch turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society. His videos on culture, technology, education, and information have been viewed by millions, translated in over 15 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide.

Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, and he was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. He has also won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie US Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities.

Wesch graduated summa cum laude from the Kansas State University anthropology program in 1997 and returned as a faculty member in 2004 after receiving his doctorate in anthropology at the University of Virginia, where he pursued research on social and cultural change in Melanesia, focusing on the introduction of print and print-based practices like mapping and census-taking in the Mountain Ok region of Papua New Guinea. He lived in the region for a total of 18 months between 1999 to 2003. This work inspired Wesch to examine the effects of new media more broadly, especially digital media.

To this end, Wesch launched the Digital Ethnography Working Group, a team of undergraduates exploring human uses of digital technology. Coinciding with the launch of this group, Wesch created a short video, "The Machine is Us/ing Us." Released on YouTube January 31, 2007, it quickly became one of the most popular videos in the blogosphere and has now been viewed more than 12 million times.

He followed up the success of "The Machine is Us/ing Us" with "A Vision of Students Today," a short video he created with 200 K-State students exploring the state of higher education today. The video was the most popular video on the web in October 2007 and now has more than four million views.

Wesch also has led K-State undergraduate students in a three-year study of YouTube culture. The resulting 55-minute video has now been viewed more than one million times and was called "a phenomenon" by The New York Times.

Saying that "the more individualistic we become, the more we crave community," Wesch speaks on the innate modern-day connection between the media and our sense of cultural and individual identity. Drawing this connection into the world of marketing, he explains how, in worrying about page views and unique visitors, we can lose our view of the big picture: What are we contributing to society?

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